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High Planes Trilogy

a loving association with Santa Fe


Stillness captures the summer night on the high plains desert.
The air; absolute clarity.
The flawless atmospheric pane
fosters originality…
Nevertheless, none could occur.

The darkened depth above, envelopes imagination.
A thin stratum of pitch pigment
lets flickering starlight show through.
Light specks become the foreground;
the top coating dropping back.

Tall thin buttes, like shabby paint brush bristles, fixed mid stroke
once stained the sky over Nambe’.1
The shafts themselves are silhouettes;
blackness on a moonless blackness,
frozen in a task, unfinished.

The breaches in the darkness become watchers of the dawn.
They saw every intimate dream
and burn with unfulfilled desires.
Obelisks transform to torches,
igniting clouds; wakening Wind.

Great Master Wind tolerates no direction from mortals.
Disturbed easily; it is unaware.
Detached from lesser powers,
it can move and remove mountains;
grinding boulders to stones, to sand.

Worriedly, trees beat themselves questioning their destiny.
Submissively they bow, then break.
Bushes, terrified, tear about.
Mesa shaped adobe structures
are convected bone cadavers.

As fast as Wind becomes inflamed, it settles back to rest.
It only flexed its large muscle
caring nothing of its carnage
nor aware of its harsh actions,
leaves, an uneasy calm behind.

And we who paint figures on rocks and see gods in the stars,
create reasons and seek controls.
We are all the tumbling weeds.
We become the mud built structures.
We act on stages with no plays.


.----1Nambé is a Native American pueblo north of Santa Fe, New Mexico




Winter Sun, in New Mexico’s high plains desert,
is an ineffectual old man.
His authoritarian stewardship is limited
by short periods of cognition.
His restricted forces tolerate chilled days,
far colder than Summer’s nights.

Surrendering his prosperous protectorate
to starvation and decomposition,
his groves become an accumulation
of quivering, brittle skeletons,
grateful for any bit of rotting vegetation
to cover their naked bones.

He attempts to appear great and virile
by melting some rancorous snow.
However, barely able to raise his head to survey,
in his fast fading conscious hours,
what remains are semi circular plots of white,
eclipsed by the diurnal elongated shadows.

Death and birth are one in nature
and in the gods concocted by humans.
The old man became the child and then matures
into a child again in birth.
And we intertwine the creator and the son
with spirited rituals.




The guardian illuminates the earth with an outpouring of light
protracting the day from night, it follows its sentinel path.
Wearied by its long summer hours, It ignores the approaching tempest.
Closer to work day’s end than beginning, it chooses a narrower gaze.

Acting the fool, Cloud tricks the daytime star to ignore its action
Peeking over the bastion between the bright and the pale,
deceitful Cloud in glowing costumes, amuses the earth.
Playing the jester, it changes shape in mild entertainment.

Becoming more brazen, it lifts its bowed head and lowers its brow.
Its joyful looping smile deepens into to a premeditative serpentine grin.
The masks change from Pantaloon to Harlequin to the Devil himself.
It is the evil one, Storm clothed in massive dark hooded robes.

Impending Storm grabs hold of the Sangre de Christos.2
standing there atop, it becomes an enormous tyrant.
It shouts to the setting sun of its fleeing cowardice
and spit threats with its angry shooting flares and clapperclaw.

Monstrous Storm rumbles and grumbles disrespectful blasphemes,
“It is Sun’s fault for the heat of day that held off my sweet kerfuffle.
It is Sun who sweeps up dew in the morn and throughs it into my face.
It is Sun who is really monstrous, and threatens a change of integrity”

Enraged Sun turns back, its furious gold face turns to red in anger.
“Such a pitiful challenges is what you threaten me with,” laughs Sun.
Terrified Storm diminished by the raw power of its opponent wets itself.
The rain becomes a burning flame singeing, now again Cloud’s ghostly hem.

The mountain too appear to ignite, as the trees unpretentiously finish their bath.
They wave and bow farewell to the light of day and breathed in the cooling air
Cloud moans as it licks it’s freshly acquired wounds, quickly departing the sky
How can such a most gifted and potentially good child of earth go so wrong.


I pull over to the side of the road, on Old Taos Highway, on the way to the opera and stare. My eyes see something more wondrous and bizarre than my imaginations could dream up. I describe the picture in a parable to encourage the image of a wondrous fantasy. But the reality is far more fantastic. I can only suggest an image because my imagination is not quite so wondrous as one drop of rain

.----2The chain of mountains above the city of Santa Fe, NM, USA. Sangre de Christo means the ‘blood of Christ.’ At sunset, in winter, when the snow is on the mountain, the mountain turns a blood red.



Wind was Andy's inspiration for the piece of the same name for the solo marimba with six mallets. Both Sun and Storm are awaiting commissions. Sun will be a two mallet slow movement and Storm a wild conclusion.